An agreement reached with the Russians calls for an inventory of Syria’s chemical weapons program within one week, with all components of the program out of the country or destroyed by mid-2014.
The next step must be a decision by the executive committee of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which implements the convention that Syria has agreed to join, to endorse the U.S.-Russian agreement. The OPCW is based in The Hague, Netherlands, and it isn’t certain when it will meet, although several diplomats said probably later this week.
Once the OPCW approves the agreement, the Security Council must adopt a resolution endorsing both the U.S.-Russian agreement and the OPCW decision.
“This resolution needs to enshrine the OPCW decision in legally binding form, because the OPCW does not have the ability to impose legally binding obligations,” Britain’s Lyall Grant said.
France and the U.S. insisted that a military response to the Aug. 21 attack remained on the table, and were pressing for a U.N. resolution reflecting that.
“It has to be strong, it has to be forceful, it has to be real, it has to be accountable, it has to be transparent, it has to be timely. All of those things are critical. And it has to be enforced,” Kerry said.
“We will not tolerate avoidance or anything less than full compliance by the Assad regime,” he added.
Kerry said the agreement “fully commits the United States and Russia to impose measures under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter in the event of non-compliance.” Chapter 7 resolutions allow for military enforcement.
Lavrov said Chapter 7 was the subject of “fierce debate” during the talks but stressed that “the final document ... doesn’t mention it” and that the Security Council resolution being negotiated will not be under Chapter 7.